Human Services (HSRV) 455

Project Design I (Revision 1)

HSRV 455 Course website

Permanently closed, effective October 28, 2014.

Delivery Mode: Individualized study

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Reading course - Social Science

Prerequisite: HSRV 311 and HSRV 322 and professor approval. Before registering, contact the course professor to discuss an acceptable project proposal.

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

Human Services Home Page

HSRV 455 is not available for challenge.

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This is an independent study course. It involves student-initiated units of study that are based on a contracted study arrangement worked out between an individual student, an approved project's supervisor and Athabasca University (via the program coordinator). Topics are chosen in consultation with the program coordinator, and can be adapted to local, comparative, or international contexts.

The primary purpose of this course is to enable students to use independent study and research to develop a workable plan that would allow students to implement the research design in the community, workplace, or other human services related setting. It emphasizes the steps that lead to the development of a project that would, if implemented, produce knowledge that had not previously existed.

The project may seek to confirm previous findings for a new population, lead to other research questions, or be specific to the needs of a particular organization and be finite in its application. Ideally, completion of Project Design I will prepare the student to implement the finished product.

It is an advanced course, intended for students who have completed foundational courses in Human Services such as HSRV 311 and HSRV 322, or equivalent courses from another institution.


Before receiving permission to register, the student identifies a problem or subject to study, prepares a topic, and assesses possible research methods and materials to ensure that the proposed topic is feasible. The student contacts the course coordinator for a preliminary discussion of the topic and supervision. The student submits a Project Proposal on the basis of which the student is granted or denied permission to register in the course. If successful, the course coordinator arranges for a project supervisor to be assigned.

Once registered the student and supervisor arrange a learning contract setting out the work to be undertaken and the timelines for completion of these assignments. A preliminary research proposal, consisting of four to six pages, is then submitted to the project supervisor for grading.

Once the work for the course is half to two-thirds completed, the student prepares a progress report that meets the requirements agreed to in the learning contract. The progress report may take the form of a rough draft of part of the final report.

The project report will integrate the original and revised research proposal, incorporate the activities defined in the learning contract, and present a final product that is the student's own critical analysis of the current trends and outcomes related to the particular problem, issue or choice selected. This piece of work is 20 to 25 pages in length.

Upon completion of the course work, students will be invited to submit an executive summary or other synopsis of their project for use on the course home page to communicate their findings to other students.


Your final grade in HSRV 455: Project Design I will be based on the grades you achieve on the three written assignments. To receive credit for HSRV455, you must achieve a grade of at least 60 per cent on each assignment and obtain an overall course composite grade of ā€œDā€(50 percent) or better. The following indicates the assignments for credit and their weighting toward your final grade.

Finalized Project Proposal Progress Report Project Report Total
20% 30% 50% 100%

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials

Course materials will be determined by the student and project supervisor as part of the preliminary research proposal.

Other Materials

The course materials supplied for Project Design I consist solely of student manual.

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 1, May 13, 2002.

Updated October 30 2014 by SAS